Picture of author.

Jonathan Ames

Author of Wake Up, Sir!

27+ Works 2,596 Members 79 Reviews 11 Favorited

About the Author

Jonathan Ames is a contributing writer to the New York Press and a comic monologist in the tradition of Spalding Gray. His first novel I Pass Like Night was published in 1989 and led to feature articles about Ames in USA Today and Vanity Fair. Ames has performed at PS 122, Fez, the Nuyorican Poets' show more Cafe and the New York Public Library. His work has been anthologized in the Henfield Foundation Anthology and in an anthology edited by Joyce Carol Oates. He has worked as a taxi driver, au pair, fiction writing teacher and model. He grew up in Orange, New Jersey, and currently resides in New York. (Bowker Author Biography) Jonathan Ames lives in Brooklyn, New York. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Jonathan Ames

Image credit: Photographed by Travis Roozée


Works by Jonathan Ames

Associated Works

The Future Dictionary of America (2004) — Contributor — 626 copies
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007 (2007) — Contributor — 615 copies
The Best American Comics 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 210 copies
The Best of McSweeney's {complete} (1800) — Contributor — 141 copies
The Lunatic at Large (1899) — Introduction, some editions — 113 copies
McSweeney's Issue 34 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern) (2010) — Contributor — 110 copies
Scribblers on the Roof: Contemporary Jewish Fiction (2006) — Contributor — 30 copies
Harde liefde de ruigste verhalen uit de wereldliteratuur (1994) — Contributor — 12 copies
Open City #25: The Musicians' Issue (2008) — Contributor — 10 copies


2009 (10) 2010 (10) 21st century (11) alcoholism (29) America (11) American (13) American literature (24) autobiography (10) biography (19) comedy (13) comic (12) comics (28) crime (19) ebook (10) essays (57) fiction (257) gay (14) graphic novel (66) graphic novels (13) humor (101) Jeeves (10) literature (18) memoir (52) mystery (16) New York (23) New York City (20) noir (16) non-fiction (74) novel (43) own (19) queer (10) read (41) sex (15) sexuality (11) short stories (10) to-read (169) unread (13) USA (17) Vertigo (9) wishlist (10)

Common Knowledge



Is it a noir? Is it a hard-boiled detective story? Is it a bit of both? Probably, but it contains the security expert, Happy Doll, on a mission to find a missing person, the mother of a woman who visited him in his office. He knew something wasn't quite right but when the name of the missing person was mentioned - Ines Candle - he knew he would take the case because she was once his lover.

There are parts of this story which are quite unbelievable: Doll does kill a lot of people, especially at the end and there is no real wrap up for this. Perhaps the next book will start off where this one finished. At this point, Doll is snorting cocain and heroin, has a nasty wound on his thigh and has just had a dip in the local river so it is bound to become infected. However, to try and control himself, he does have Buddhist leanings and a dog that loves him no matter how many people he kills.

One of the things that Chandler, the king of hard-boiled detectives, did was to use similes very effectively and so does Ames.

The back doors of the van were open like wings, and he sat on the lip of the interior, with his feet dangling. Behind him was his mattress and there was clutter and garbage all around his bed, like a human version of a bird's nest - if the bird had begun to lose its mind.

There's humour, wisecracks and dialogue that is spikey and staccato. The wheel that is named in the title is the full circle Doll goes through in finding the love of his life, only to lose her again. It takes him back to his drug addict days.

It's a quick read and is good fun if you can suspend disbelief long enough.
… (more)
allthegoodbooks | 4 other reviews | Dec 29, 2023 |
I am thinking of investing in the audiobook of this novel, but I’m not quite sure that it’s going to be funny enough because based on how funny bored to death, the TV show is I don’t think this writer really has what it takes to be a PG Wodehouse. The only thing that keeps me from not jumping right in is the cost of the audiobook. I have read other Jeeves satires, and they’re usually pretty good. The main thing about this one is the butler character is named Jeeves and he doesn’t really exist. He’s a figment of the main characters imagination.… (more)
laurelzito | 18 other reviews | Nov 14, 2023 |
This book was trying hard to be something.....funny.....hardboiled.....ironic....I just found it annoying. Characters constantly making bad choices to service the plot moving forward....violence for violence's sake. If it hadn't been short, I probably wouldn't have finished it. He is a good writer because he violated a lot of my internal book rules and I kept reading but ultimately when I got to the end I felt like I had a bad attempt at an American Ken Bruen novel.
cdaley | 4 other reviews | Nov 2, 2023 |
There is a lot to like in this book but it is not perfect. I'm not convinced that the most spaced out hippies would name a boy "Happy" anything, let alone "Happy Doll" and that Happy didn't change it when he could or that he would stop using "Hank" as an alternative. Happy is an interesting guy with a long harsh backstory. Today he is trying to be more serene. He loves his dog. Unfortunately, Happy makes his living as an investigator and we all know what that means. Bad guys (or her girls) come knocking. It's a far stretch to believe that Happy can find missing Ines when no one else can, but he does, and pretty quickly too. It's also hard to believe that Ines was murdered in her bed without a struggle but she does. Ines is the first in a very long string of deaths in the book. As the bodies piled up I kept wondering why in some novels people are knocked around hard and don't die but in other books. One good whack does them in. Anyway, there are a lot of bodies here.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
… (more)
Dokfintong | 4 other reviews | Oct 30, 2023 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by
½ 3.7

Charts & Graphs